COVID-hit Nats make many moves before 1st game of season


The Washington Nationals have a baseball workout at Nationals Park, Monday, April 5, 2021, in Washington. The Nationals had a conronavirus outbreak that sidelined 11 players, four of whom tested positive for COVID-19, and delayed their first game until Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Starting pitchers Jon Lester and Patrick Corbin, closer Brad Hand and four position players expected in the lineup — left fielder Kyle Schwarber, first baseman Josh Bell, second baseman Josh Harrison and catcher Yan Gomes — were put on the 10-day injured list by the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

Backup catcher Alex Avila and reserve infielder Jordy Mercer also went on the IL before Washington played its first game of the season at home against the Atlanta Braves.

The Nationals’ first four games on the schedule were postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak within the team. Four players tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional seven were placed under quarantine after contact tracing found that they might have been exposed to the illness.

The Nationals have not publicly identified the 11 players involved. The team’s announcement of those nine players on the IL did not specify why they are sidelined.

A 10th player who was put on the injured list on Tuesday, reliever Will Harris, was taken off the active roster for what the team said was right hand inflammation.

In other moves, Washington selected the contract of recently signed catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the major league roster and put him in the starting lineup Tuesday.

Other moves included recalling nine players sent to the alternate training site: catcher Tres Barrera, right-hander Sam Clay, infielder Luis García, right-hander Ryne Harper, outfielder Yadiel Hernandez, infielder Carter Kieboom and right-hander Kyle McGowin.

Outfielder Cody Wilson was brought up as a replacement player.


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